Students Cross-Country Trip

Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Thu May 03, 2012 4:23 am

Hi folks,
by the end of the year I have 3 months off as a break between beeing a student and becoming a mechanical engineer at Siemens, constructing Amtraks ACS 64. I have the idea to use the time to make a round the world trip with British Airways which is not that expensive as I thought. I want to see all the things I never did and may never can do again which would be London-Tokyo (Railfaning in Tokyo), Tokyo -Sydney and Sydney to LAX, somehow get to New York or Newark and then back to London.

I planed 4 weeks in the US to get from the WC to the EC. My route will be LA-SF-Sacramento-St.Louis ( I am not sure about that) - Chicago - Washington and than New Jersey, New York as I mentioned here: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=96170

I am still on a students wage so I only can afford 4 weeks and will mainly have to sleep in the rental car in a sleeping bag. Trains Mags Tourist booklet makes my way as I will concentrate on railmuseums and trainspotting. The thing I am thinking about is that there is a huge fare when you rent a car in LA and give it back in NY as they have to carry it back.
Do you know any rental car companies that do not charge such fees?
Do you think it is cheaper to rent a car on WC and one on EC and taka a train or flight between them? Not so much to see then...
How do you think about sleeping in the car in the USA? Dangerous?
Which Motels are cheap but safe?

Thanks for any information that helps.

PS: At our museum www.stumpfwaldbahn.de we have a litte room where friends can spend the night in their sleeping bag. Do you know any museums or clubs that can offer such a space? That would be very helpful.
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby Ocala Mike » Thu May 03, 2012 10:45 am

I'm not an expert on this type of travel, but my tips to you are:

1. Renting a car to DRIVE across the US is not the way to go, especially if you are solo. Definitely NOT a good idea to sleep in the car.

2. Better to take the train across the country, even if you have to rough it in coach for some or all of the trip. Only rent cars locally. Try Enterprise for best rates.

3. You need to google "hostels" or "youth hostels" in the US for cheap lodging while you're on your adventure.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
Ocala Mike (formerly Hillside Mike and Deer Park Mike)
User avatar
Ocala Mike
 
Posts: 1127
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:01 pm
Location: Ocala, FL

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Thu May 03, 2012 10:50 am

Ocala Mike wrote:I'm not an expert on this type of travel, but my tips to you are:

1. Renting a car to DRIVE across the US is not the way to go, especially if you are solo. Definitely NOT a good idea to sleep in the car.

2. Better to take the train across the country, even if you have to rough it in coach for some or all of the trip. Only rent cars locally. Try Enterprise for best rates.

3. You need to google "hostels" or "youth hostels" in the US for cheap lodging while you're on your adventure.

Good luck, and keep us posted.


I didn't mean to sleep in the car at crowded places, rather on railway museum grounds or Motel parking lots. I take it, you are talking about robberys, right?

Oh yes, if that trip is going to happen, I will post my experiences here:-)

THX. Andrew
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby Ocala Mike » Thu May 03, 2012 10:42 pm

Andrew: Robberies, carjackings, and worse. Forget about sleeping in your car in the places you mentioned; only places I would even consider it are patrolled interstate rest areas.
Ocala Mike (formerly Hillside Mike and Deer Park Mike)
User avatar
Ocala Mike
 
Posts: 1127
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:01 pm
Location: Ocala, FL

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby Adirondacker » Thu May 03, 2012 11:36 pm

Ocala Mike wrote:Andrew: Robberies, carjackings, and worse. Forget about sleeping in your car in the places you mentioned; only places I would even consider it are patrolled interstate rest areas.


One of the things they patrol for is people sleeping in their car. I don't have a cite for it but there's a three hour parking limit in rest stops in New York. Yes they check. Partly because they can't tell the difference between someone who is asleep and someone who is a half hour away from dying of alcohol poisoning. Or just had a heart attack. Most states have similar restrictions. Truck stops maybe but only maybe if you are in a car and not a truck. There's lots of cheap campsites and most states have state parks you can camp in for a reasonable fee. Most of them will require you to have a tent - you can't sleep in the car. Tents are cheap.

There's the option of Amtrak Rail Passes or Greyhound Discovery Pass and hostels. A really quick check found reasonable hostels in Chicago in the Loop and in Manhattan near the subway in decent neighborhoods. Tiny rooms and shared baths though..
Adirondacker
 
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Fri May 04, 2012 2:31 am

I would love to go by Amtrak but unsure to reach all the destinations and photospots. How much do Motels or Hostels charge? A friend of mine lived half a year on the beach somewhere in California in a saloon car, showered on the beach shower and got free meals from restaurants around :-) He was never robbed or asked by police.

Anyway, I will try to find some cheap accomodation. Is there something like a Week-Travelcard on Amtrak? When I choose all the jorneys on their website, it seems to become expensive although choosing a seating car.

Thx, Andrew
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby David Benton » Fri May 04, 2012 2:45 am

i did a similiar trip back in the nineties , i used mainly amtrak and a bicycle carried onboard . youth hostels are ok , but not that common , in bigger cities they tend to be ymcas or student accomodation . if you get a reail pass , you can plan to spend a good few nites on the train , sleeping in coach is ok , as long as you get off the train every 2 or 3rd day and get a shower and a good nites sleep .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Fri May 04, 2012 2:57 am

Have you bought tickets for every journey or have you had a pass to do all the journeys?
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby David Benton » Fri May 04, 2012 4:22 am

When i was there , you could buy a ticket to a destination , and have 2 stopovers on the way . it worked out cheaper than a pass , ( because i was there 6 months ) , but meant you tended to do long journeys to make the most of the ticket .
For example , you could do New York to Miami , with a stopover in Seattle !. ( i never did such convoluted trips , but some made it a competition to see how many miles you could do on one ticket ).
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Fri May 04, 2012 4:39 am

That sounds the way of tricky things that I need information about :-)

Maybe you can write me (in a pm if you wish) what that ticket was called and where you spend the nights for six months?

Cheers, Andrew
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby David Benton » Sun May 06, 2012 2:41 am

it was called all abloard america fare , and i dont think it is avaliable anymore . probably due to people abusing it .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Mon May 07, 2012 2:29 am

I think you there is a pass called USA railpass available which would be $650 for 30 days. Is this a cheap offer compared with other fares to get around?
Cheers, Andrew
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby David Benton » Mon May 07, 2012 3:21 am

That works out at $ 21.67 a day , i dont think you would get far for that . as long as your travelling approx every 2nd day i think it would work out alot cheaper than buying individual fares .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby David Benton » Mon May 07, 2012 3:28 am

i see the 30 day pass is limited to 12 segments .
"Amtrak considers a travel segment any time you get on and then get off a vehicle (train, bus, ferry or other allowable leg) regardless of length."
so if you used the pass to cross the country 12 times ( without stopover ) it would extremley good value , if you used it on thruway buses in califionia for e.g , it would be poor value , as san diego to Sanfrancisco via the central valley would use up 3 of your segments in one day .
i dont suppose there is anything to stop you buying a ticket for any short sections , and keep the segments for long distance non stop .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Students Cross-Country Trip

Postby CP-4070 » Tue May 08, 2012 2:33 am

I would like to ask again where you stayed for the nights in six month as even hostels would be expensive for six months?

Cheers, Andrew
User avatar
CP-4070
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Next

Return to Travel & Trip Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests